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The Microsoft Zune (or How I spent my entire Christmas evening...)

Shirley (my wife, for those keeping score at home), got me a Microsoft Zune for Christmas this year. I had mentioned that I wanted an MP3 player, but wasn't too sure of which model, brand, and specifications that I wanted to specify a particular one from the vendor offerings, so Shirley got me what was touted as the hottest, latest thing to hit the shelves. Shirl knows me, and knows that I'll love whatever she gives me, but stressed that she did absolutely no research when it came to "an mp3 player". Interested in seeing just how cool/uncool/etc. Microsoft's initial offering is, I decided not to be an Anti-M$er and actually give it a try. I'll attempt to give you a summary of my experience: I spent over 4 hours trying to install the Zune software onto my Thinkpad T60 that's running Microsoft XP Professional SP2.

Once I actually got the software installed however, (apparently, I had a folder permissions issue, outdated version of Windows Media Player, and was behind in several "Critical Updates" at the OS level...) everything went pretty well. I loaded my audiobooks (I have some music, but was primarily interested in listening to books that I don't get the time to read when reading them just isn't a good idea, such as during my morning commute to one of my clients) and have so far been using the zune for about 8 hours all told. It's not that bad of a device, but I'm a complete n00b when it comes to this arena.

I'm going to give it a go and hold tight my gift receipt (Shirl's already told me to take it back after her seeing the frustration with installing just the synching software...), and report back here my findings. I've been given a few suggestions in the $250 price range for other solutions such as the 30GB iPod, but I'm open to anything that'll play great audio, great video, and gives me some pretty slick functionality. So comment here with questions about the Zune (I'll warn that I don't know much yet) or possible contenders should I decide to look elsewhere for my mobile audio/video needs... I'll try to keep the blog updated with my thoughts on the device and share the cool as well as the not-so-much in future posts!

BTW, for those of you interested, here's a shot at the error message that kept trying to stare me down last night (click to open full-size screen capture):

Zune Installation Error Message

About the author: Chris Toohey

Thought Leadership, Web & Mobile Application Development, Solutions Integration, Technical Writing & Mentoring

A published developer and webmaster of, Chris Toohey specializes in platform application development, solutions integration, and evangelism of platform capabilities and best practices.

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